One of my favorite phrases to say to my kids is, “Let’s try that again.” This is a good method to use after your child has done something or said something that you don’t approve of. Let’s take throwing a toy, for example. If your child throws a toy down, you can say, “Let’s try that again.” Basically, you’re giving them a chance to redo their behavior correctly. When our little boys were foster kids, we used this a lot. They were very rough with toys. We used this method to teach them how to treat property. One of our foster kids would get so frustrated with us when he had to pick up the toy and try again. On his first attempt, he would drop the toy, instead of throwing it. Since that was still not what we had in mind, we would say, “Let’s try that again.” Then he would drop it closer to the ground. We would go back and forth until he completed the redo correctly. This helps them to learn acceptable behavior. When they moved to our house, they didn’t know that they couldn’t throw toys. No one had taught them that before. It didn’t take them very long to learn how to be gentle with toys.
This method isn’t just for throwing toys. This can also be used to remind your kids to use their manners. If the child says, “Give me that cookie.” You simply say, “Let’s try that again.” The child will learn quickly to remember to ask nicely or Mom will eat the cookie!
How about whining? I can’t stand whining. If one of my kids is whining, I just say, “I’m sorry, I just can’t understand you when you are whining. Try again.” It’s amazing how quickly the whining stops when they want something. I don’t suggest ignoring a child that is whining, especially a foster or adopted child. Simply let them know that you are ready to listen when they can speak correctly. Make sure you remember to thank your child and praise them when they talk correctly.
I originally read about this phrase in the book, The Connected Child, by the late Dr. Karyn Purvis. I highly recommend that every foster & adoptive parent read this book. You will be glad you did! The phrase “Let’s try that again” has been very helpful for us. We would love to hear how it has helped your family.